The historic St. Mary’s Mission in Stevensville is celebrating First Friday and Christmas with a Nativity and Christmas Doll Exhibit, a Chapel open house with Christmas music, and a gift shop featuring unique Montana made gifts and stocking stuffers, Dec. 1-3.
Colleen Meyer, executive director, said the nativity display has been a popular mission tradition for more than 10 years.
“It is amazing to see what people bring in to share with the community,” Meyer said. “People love to see the unique display and sometimes they say ‘Oh, I had one of those growing up.’”
The mission also has a beautiful selection of nativities made from wood, fabric, thread, ceramic, metal, and glass. They include an Eskimo nativity in an igloo from Alaska, a tiny nativity in a walnut shell that is displayed in a tea cup, and the large nativity in front of St. Mary’s Mission that Meyer said is the mission’s gift to the community.
Meyer credited the display to set-up specialists Peg Andersen and Margaret Yuhas.
The collection of Nativities and Christmas dolls will be on display in the Visitor’s Center 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 1, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 3.
The mission will have a chapel open house from 6 to 9 p.m. and a kids' craft project from 7 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 1. The Chapel open house will be a quiet time of reflection with simple decorations, similar to what they used in 1866, and Christmas music from the pump organ.
Friday night includes free wagons rides from the First Friday celebration on Main Street to St. Mary’s Mission.
Meyer said every year the mission does a secondary addition to the nativities and has done villages, Santas, and nutcrackers. Christmas dolls were the extension to the nativity display this year.
The community brought in Barbie dolls in elaborate hand-crocheted dresses and hats, a Tiny Tears doll, American Girl dolls, and Patti Play Pal dolls fashioned into a nativity by Kay Shrader of Darby.
The collection of Nativities and Christmas dolls will be on display in the Visitor’s Center 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 1, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 3. The mission gift shop will be open the hours of the nativity display and extended two more weekends 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 9-10 and 16-17.